What Do You Think?
It’s been a violent year or so, hasn’t it? It seems like everywhere we turn there is more news of more horror and more violence. Why? Where does it come from?
If you ask 100 different people, you’ll probably get 100 different answers as to why there is so much violence in our society. To be sure, it is a complex issue and there are many factors involved in every act of violence that appears on our newsfeed.
In looking for root causes, we must always be wary of over-simplification and sweeping statements. Nevertheless, some factors are more important than others — even if they are not immediately obvious.
Mother Teresa’s Take
In 1994, Mother Teresa gave an historic speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC. In it she sought to answer, ‘What is the great destroyer of peace and bringer of violence?’
To Test Us
It still amazes me how little the church of Christ can sometimes actually look like Christ. And I say that as a leader of the church, myself bearing the brunt of the blame.
The hypocritical media and self-appointed moral police of our city have brought a man before us who has been caught (on video) in sin. Death threats, drunken stupors, and binges of crack-cocaine — all from a man who should be an example and a leader. They have set this man in our midst. They are testing us, as a society now. It’s clear how the majority of our city feel. As a church, how will we respond to Mayor Rob Ford?
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford speaks from the podium at the cenotaph during a Remembrance Day service in Toronto on Monday. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)
The world knows that the righteous law of God condemns these things. They remind us of that and ask, ‘So what do you say?’ They say this to test us, that they might catch us in hypocrisy and discredit us. Are we a people of mercy or judgement? If we don’t draw a hard line now, how can we speak out against other moral issues facing our culture? But what are we to do when the matter is so clear that even the immoral are offended?
Leaked videos have proven it, blog commenters have spoken; can there be any doubt? What will we do with him?
Our Response to Date
Sadly, some Christians have prioritized politics over personal integrity. ‘He has good politics, even if his life is a disaster,’ we say. And we overlook how he has offended a Holy God and betrayed the City that vested trust in him.
Sadly, other Christians don’t look any different than the world. Here is a chance to stand with the world, rather than against it for a change. ‘We can show them that we’re not weird political conservatives with blinders on, we can see this is wrong too!’
But you know what’s missing in both of those responses? Jesus’ response.
Many of you who follow this blog will be well familiar with the situation our church is facing with the Toronto District School Board. Since you’ve been praying for us, I wanted to post an update — we still need your prayers.
If you want to get caught up on the situation to this point, you can start by reading here.
The short version of the story is that our church was given 3 days’ notice on a 450% hike in our permit fees (we meet weekly in a public school). We have been petitioning the TDSB since the beginning of September for some changes and some relief. Though the changes affected other groups as well, the most drastic hikes were targeted specifically at ‘faith based organizations,’ who are now being charged the same rates as ‘for-profit businesses.’